Before I begin to infuriate anyone, let me clearly say that I DO understand and respect more than one perspective on this matter at hand with the Walmart Express being considered/built in Ellsworth.
I am originally from Salina. There, I operated a small business that I had started several years ago, and offered the first "On-Site" computer repair services in Salina, until other computer "techs" had realized that I was a busy man, and began offering their own "in-home" service and began undercutting my prices, to the point where what I would first charge for an hour, would soon be for the entire service call (up to 3-4 hours sometimes), and eventually I went "in the red" with finances and was forced to give it up altogether, because of competition. So I want everyone to know that I know firsthand how much it hurts to watch a business that you created or operated yourself, be sucked down the drain due to competition. I was basically working another job to support my business, when I finally had to pull the plug on the life support and let my small business go. I know how local business owners feel, in their uncertainty of what the outcome may be, after Walmart Express comes to town.
What I have learned though, is how to re-invent myself. I was devastated to lose the battle, but I learned that it was not the end of the road, but merely another path I must take to continue my journey. Long story short, I am now living in a safer, closer-knit community with caring people who actually help one another in times of need and crisis, with a job that pays more in wages than I had ever thought I would be earning, that includes better health insurance, leave time (sick,vacation, etc.), and many great co-workers who have my back when the spit hits the fan.
For those who know me, you know where I work, so I will not mention the name of my employer, who has been more than generous in working with me to train and retain me during the past 8.5 years of my employment, but I will say that I have learned that many folks in Ellsworth also had concerns about my employer coming to town when it did many years ago, and today they are as much a part of Ellsworth as any other local business, with charitable donations from planned events, and the job opportunities they have provided to this area for many years. Many projects completed in this city over the years would have cost many times more if not for the efforts of my employer, and for that I say JOB WELL DONE!
I know I may sound selfish when I mention this, but now the concerns that some have are about my wife's employer. My wife could not find a local employer to hire her without a G.E.D. (I admit she did not apply with every one, but she got discouraged about the ones she did apply to) and with her physical limitations (Equal Opportunity Employers?), and Walmart (42 miles away) gave her that opportunity to bring in a little income to supplement mine, to work on catching up on bills piling up. (We have a rental house in Lincoln we had been paying payments on for several months, and had deadbeat renters in it who finally skipped out on us last year, owing us a bundle on unpaid rent), so we had no choice otherwise but for her to find work, or for me to find part-time work that would not conflict with my full-time employer, to bring in a little more income.
For those who do not know me (you are probably the lucky ones... lol), I do have a tendency to speak my mind about certain issues that affect me or my family, and I can be somewhat headstrong at times. Sometimes I am right in my perspective, but many times I can be seriously wrong and I admit that it does happen more times than I care to mention. However, when it comes to Ellsworth growing, I believe we need to accept change as it comes along, and adapt to that change. A wise man once told me that I must "adapt and overcome" when it comes to obstacles or challenges in life, and that is what local business owners in Ellsworth need to do now, is "adapt and overcome". You CAN do this, but you may need to re-invent or alter your business strategies to make it happen. It will not be an easy task, but if you have made your businesses successful for this long, I am confident that you can adapt and overcome the presence of this 'giant" coming to town.
Did David quit (or whine) when he saw the size of Goliath? No! David stood up to Goliath and gave it all he got, and he triumphed! You can triumph also, by being creative and cunning enough to make it happen.
I bet 6 months or a year from now, many will be asking themselves "I was worried about that?", and by that time you may be facing new obstacles or challenges to adapt to and overcome, one at a time. We don't need to worry about Ellsworth being "strong", as long as we work together as a community to keep it growing stronger every day, by adapting and overcoming everything that life tosses at us in the future, and encouraging people to shop locally, rather than driving long distances to shop for their needs.
I thank each and every one of you, for standing up for what you believe in, and voicing your opinions in regards to the overall good for this community. Whether for or against an issue, your opinions show others that you shall not be pushed around, that you have backbone, and backbone is what a community needs to survive. I applaud you all (applause).
(Disclaimer: My personal opinion only, not my professional opinion, and not the opinion of my employer; past, present, or future).
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